The Composter's Guide to Bugs: How to Distinguish the Good from the Bad

Published on September 19th, 2023 by Brett Knighton

A woman showing her rich and nutrient soil from her compost.

Have you ever looked into your compost bin and noticed all of the critters roaming about?

While it might just look like an overcrowded day at a Disney theme park, these compost bugs are actually doing important work.

When you put food scraps and yard waste in your compost bin, all kinds of tiny creatures begin to break it down. From roly-poly bugs to worms and flies, these critters help turn your scraps into rich, healthy soil.

However, not all compost bugs are beneficial. Knowing which are allies and foes in your compost is critical to a successful composting experience.

Let's get to it!

Is It OK to Have Bugs in Your Compost?

Not only is it ok to have bugs in your compost, but it's also beneficial and necessary for a healthy composting process. Bugs assist in breaking down organic material more quickly than it would decompose on its own.

They're part of a larger ecosystem within your compost pile, including bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms.

Together, they work synergistically to decompose organic matter, facilitating the recycling of nutrients and enhancing soil structure and fertility.

A Quick Overview of Compost Bugs

Beneficial Compost Bugs
Worms Enhance soil fertility and structure. Promote aeration and nutrient cycling.
Beetles Contribute to maintaining a healthy ecosystem and protect compost from pests.
Soldier Flies and Their Larvae Help in breaking down waste and contribute to soil's nitrogen content.
Springtails Prevent the spread of diseases and fungal growth in your compost.
Isopods Speed up the decomposition process and enhance soil fertility.
Slugs Can be beneficial in compost but may need control to prevent harm to plants.
Millipedes Feed on decaying organic matter, improving soil structure and fertility.
Mites Contribute to decomposition but can compete with worms and potentially irritate skin.
Cockroaches Help in breaking down compost materials and aerating the soil.
Non-Beneficial Bugs Found in Compost
Ants Indicate dry conditions, can slow decomposition and protect other pests.
Houseflies Carry diseases and can transfer pathogens, attracted to meat or dairy in compost.
Spiders Control pest populations but do not contribute significantly to decomposition.
Centipedes Can disrupt compost ecosystem by preying on beneficial insects.
Mosquitoes Carry diseases and are attracted to standing water in compost.
Termites Indicate potential trouble and risk to wooden structures nearby.
Aphids Can damage plants if they migrate from compost to garden.
Weevils Can indicate an imbalance in compost materials and potential damage to young plants.
Fleas-and-ticks Do not contribute to composting and pose a significant health risk.

The Beneficial Compost Bugs

If you've recently started composting, you might be wondering what the little bugs in your compost are.

Well, you're about to meet the tiny heroes that play a significant role in breaking down organic matter in your compost pile.

These little creatures, ranging from red worms to pill bugs, work tirelessly to accelerate decomposition, enriching your compost with the essential nutrients it needs.

Let's get acquainted with these beneficial bugs that are good for your compost and paramount for a thriving garden ecosystem.

Worms

Worms are the MVPs (most valuable players) of the compost world. They are the backbone of a thriving compost ecosystem, significantly enhancing soil fertility and structure.

You will mostly find earthworms and red worms in your compost, each contributing uniquely to the soil's health and vitality.

Let's explore each worm type and its distinctive roles and benefits.

Earthworms

Earthworms, often called "nightcrawlers", are soil engineers. They are the most common type of worm found in composts. These large, brown, segmented creatures, usually 6-8 inches long, are nature's original recyclers.

They consume organic matter and transform it into nutrient-dense castings, a powerhouse of nutrients that significantly enhance soil fertility.

Earthworm
Earthworm

The term "nightcrawlers" comes from their burrowing habits as they create channels in the compost, promoting aeration and facilitating the easy passage of water.

Working through the compost, they help maintain a balanced soil structure, preventing it from becoming overly dense. Additionally, they facilitate nutrient cycling, transforming organic matter into forms more readily absorbed by plants.

Red Worms

Red worms, or red wigglers, are distinguishable by their smaller size and reddish-brown hue and are the stars of vermicomposting.

These agile and adaptable crawlers are frequently kept in worm bins to speed up composting. But they can also be naturally found in a compost pile.

Red Wigglers in Compost.
Screenshot from "How to Overwinter Red Wiggler Composting Worms in your Garden" by Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable

They have a remarkable appetite for organic matter, converting it into nutrient-rich castings that are highly sought after as a natural fertilizer.

Their extraordinary reproductive rate provides a steady population, actively contributing to a healthy compost environment.

Beetles

Beetles are valuable allies in your compost as they contribute to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Among them, ground beetles are particularly beneficial.

These beetles are shiny and dark-colored and are active mostly at night. They help protect your compost from pests like aphids and young centipedes by patrolling your compost pile.

Ground Beetle
Ground Beetle

During the day, they seek refuge under rocks or logs, emerging in the evening to carry out their duties.

The presence of ground beetles in your compost pile is a good sign, as it indicates a well-maintained, moist environment suitable for decomposition.

Both adult beetles and their larvae play a role in this process, feeding on decaying plant matter, which quickens its transformation into nutrient-rich soil.

Soldier Flies and Their Larvae

Soldier Fly Larvae

Some people might feel uneasy at the thought of larvae, as they often associate them with maggots and houseflies.

It's true that maggots can be the larvae of houseflies, but in the context of composting, we're usually referring to the larvae of soldier flies.

Some consider these as a preferable alternative to earthworms in specific composting setups.

Soldier Fly Larvae
Zenyrgarden, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These short, legless larvae have a white or yellowish color and a soft, cylindrical body that tapers at the head. They have a greedy appetite, capable of consuming a substantial amount of waste, reducing the overall volume of your compost pile.

They use their fork-like mouths to break down rotting fruits, vegetables, and organic yard clippings. As they consume, they release ammonia, contributing to the nitrogen content in the soil.

They also produce an organic fertilizer called "Frass". Frass contains varying levels of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients. Once these larvae have reached their pupation stage, they transform and emerge as soldier flies, which can be the flying bugs you see in and around your compost.

Adult Soldier Fly

The lifecycle of an adult soldier fly is relatively brief, lasting anywhere from five days to two weeks, but significant. Once they reach maturity, they look to find a mate, lay their larvae near decomposing matter, and die, paving the way for a new generation.

Some people mistake adult soldier flies for wasps because they share the same black and yellow colors, and sometimes, it can look like they have a stinger.

Adult Soldier Fly
Adult Soldier Fly

But don't worry when you see them!

They are harmless, they don't transmit diseases, and will rarely bother you as they are primarily interested in your waste. They're a safe and beneficial addition to your compost ecosystem.

While soldier fly larvae are undeniably helpful, controlling their population is crucial to maintaining a healthy compost environment.

Overpopulation of these larvae can produce an unpleasant odor and rapidly deplete the food sources needed by other beneficial organisms in your compost.

Springtails

Springtails are tiny, often overlooked members of the compost community, but their role is anything but insignificant.

These minute, wingless insects, usually measuring just 1 to 2 mm in length, are a common sight in healthy, moist compost piles.

They are characterized by their spring-like structure, known as a furcula, which allows them to jump great distances relative to their size, hence the name "springtails".

Springtail Bug
Springtail

In a compost pile, springtails are voracious decomposers, feeding primarily on fungi, algae, and decaying plant material.

Their diet helps control fungal growth in the compost, preventing the spread of diseases that can harm your plants.

Isopods

Isopods, also known as pill bugs or rolly pollies, are little, grayish-brown bugs with a segmented, oval-shaped body.

These seven-legged soil-dwelling crustaceans are known for their ability to roll into a ball when threatened, a behavior that has earned them their affectionate nicknames.

They are friendly decomposers you would want to welcome in your compost pile as they are experts in feeding on leaf litter and other decaying plant material, which can significantly speed up the decomposition process. They also help aerate your compost, which is crucial for its health.

Isopods in a compost pile.
Isopods Shown in Compost

One of the most significant advantages of having them in your compost is their ability to recycle minerals back into the soil, enhancing its fertility.

The presence of isopods in your bin or pile is an excellent sign that your compost is thriving, healthy, and nutrient-rich.

Slugs

Slugs resemble snails but without shells. They have elongated, moist bodies, usually gray or brown, with a slimy texture. They move slowly, leaving a wet trail behind them.

Though slugs are typically viewed as garden pests that nibble at the leaves of your freshly planted greens, the ones you find in your compost can be beneficial. They actively contribute to breaking down organic matter in this specific environment.

Many gardeners are alarmed when they see slugs in their compost. They are concerned that the slugs will harm their plants when the compost is transferred or that they will lay eggs and reproduce, and their population will spiral out of control.

Slugs in a compost pile.
Screenshot from "Life in the Compost Heap" by Petepage

However, most slugs will not survive the entire decomposition process, and their eggs are a food source for other bugs already present in the compost.

If you start to see slugs taking over your compost bin, it means your compost is too wet and needs more air circulation. Add more carbon-rich materials like newspaper and cardboard to your compost to fix this and create better airflow.

If you want to get rid of them, don't just throw pesticides on them. Instead, you can remove them by hand or attract more of their natural predators, such as birds, chickens, frogs, and lizards, to the area.

You can do this by making birdhouses and birdbaths, installing garden ponds, or assembling a pile of rocks with open spaces for animals to hide in.

Millipedes

Millipedes, which are sometimes confused with centipedes, are not actually insects. They are a type of land-dweller belonging to the arthropod phylum, a broad category of animals that includes insects, spiders, and crustaceans like lobsters and crabs.

These unusual critters have elongated, segmented bodies and numerous legs, with two pairs attached to each segment. They are generally brown or black and move in a graceful wave-like motion.

Millipede Compost Bug
Millipede

Millipedes serve as silent yet efficient workers in your compost pile, diligently feeding on decaying organic matter such as leaves, dead plants, and small bits of decomposing wood. The excrement of millipedes, rich in organic matter, significantly improves the soil structure and its fertility.

Unlike centipedes, which can be predatory and sometimes venomous, millipedes are harmless decomposers, focusing solely on consuming decaying plant matter.

However, while they are beneficial in your compost, an overpopulation can sometimes lead them to seek refuge in homes, particularly in search of cooler, damp environments, which can be unpleasant.

Once inside, they'll look for cool, damp, and dark hiding places. When they start to die, you may find many of them curled up in a spiral form in areas like your crawlspace, garage, or basement.

Mites

Compost mites are often microscopic creatures characterized by their rounded bodies. They can appear in various colors, including red, white, and brown shades.

Typically, they have eight legs, a feature that categorizes them as members of the arachnid family. Due to their tiny size and varied colors, they can be nearly invisible within compost piles.

Despite their small size, they play a mighty role in decomposition. They feed on fungi, bacteria, and small particles of organic matter, benefiting your compost. Some species of mites are powerful predators that can also help regulate pest populations in your compost pile.

Mites in a compost pile.
Screenshot from "How to Estimate The Number of Mites In Your Worm Bin" by Vermicompost Learn by Doing

However, if you practice vermicomposting, this could attract these mites in large numbers. In this case, they aren't necessarily beneficial. Because they feed on the same waste as worms, they will deplete the resources your worms rely on.

Also, they could be a problem if your worm bin is inside your home. While they don't carry diseases, they will naturally spread once indoors, and this can lead to them irritating your pet's ears and skin as well as your skin, with some species causing severe irritation and itching.

Cockroaches

I already know what you're thinking... How are these nasty, long antennae pests considered a beneficial bug for my compost?

Well, you're probably thinking of the fast-moving species you see in your home, but these aren't the cockroaches I'm talking about. I'm referring to the specific species among the approximately 4,000 global cockroach species that can enrich your compost soil with nutrients.

These include the wood cockroach and the American cockroach, which is also commonly referred to as a "waterbug" in some regions. They are typically found in outdoor environments, loving dark, warm, moist places where food is abundant.

Though primarily omnivores, they often act as detritivores, feeding on decaying plants and other organic matter. This makes them excellent helpers in breaking down compost materials, releasing essential nutrients like carbon and nitrogen back into your compost.

A Wood Cockroach
Ryan Hodnett, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Their activities in the compost pile can also help in aerating the soil. As hard as it may be, embracing them can lead to a more fruitful and thriving garden. Blatticomposting is a great example of how some individuals have embraced their presence.

Blatticomposting is a sustainable composting technique that leverages the natural decomposing abilities of specific cockroach species such as the Ivory Head roach, the Six Spotted roach, and Pantanal Roaches.

In a controlled environment where these cockroaches can thrive, they excel at breaking down organic matter, transforming kitchen scraps and yard waste into rich, nutritious soil for your garden. It's an eco-friendly way to reduce waste and benefit your garden.

However, to keep them out of your home, make sure your compost pile is a good distance away from your house. If you want to avoid seeing them all together, put a lid on your compost pile or stir it up regularly. This will frustrate them, and they'll look elsewhere.

The Bugs You Don't Want to See in Your Compost

In this section, we shift our focus to the uninvited guests in your compost pile – the bugs that are more likely to cause harm than good.

These pests, ranging from ants to fleas, can disturb the delicate balance of your compost ecosystem, posing potential risks to your garden and, in some cases, your health.

Ants

Finding a trail of ants in your compost is usually a sign of dry conditions and a less active compost pile.

They tend to protect pests like aphids from predators, which are harmful to plants, so they can feed on the sugary secretions (honeydew) produced by aphids.

Ants also deter beneficial organisms like earthworms, which can slow decomposition. When you see ants in your compost, it means you have too many carbon-rich materials like branches, leaves, and newspaper drying it out.

To prevent an ant infestation, maintain a well-balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, a topic we discuss in our guide to composting at home.

You'll need to add more green material high in nitrogen and water it consistently to maintain normal moisture levels.

Houseflies

Houseflies are more than just a nuisance in your compost pile. They are notorious for carrying diseases and can quickly transfer an immeasurable amount of pathogens due to their habits of moving from unsanitary environments to your compost.

Weevil Bug.
Housefly

This poses a risk to your compost and can be a health hazard, potentially spreading diseases like dysentery, cholera, and food poisoning.

They're primarily attracted to compost heaps where meat, fish, or dairy products have been disposed of, which you should avoid putting in your compost bins.

Spiders

Spiders may find their way into compost piles, drawn by the plentiful supply of prey.

Although they don't play a significant role in the decomposition process, their predatory behavior helps in controlling the populations of other pests that might be present.

While spiders are not directly harmful to compost, a substantial presence might indicate an imbalance between beneficial bugs and pests, as they feed on smaller insects.

Additionally, their webs can sometimes hinder the movement and activity of beneficial insects, potentially slowing the composting process slightly.

Centipedes

Centipedes, often found in shades of brown, reddish-brown, or yellowish with darker markings, are carnivorous predators known to be venomous, using their venom to subdue prey.

Naturally, they feed on other insects found in the compost pile, including some beneficial ones.

They have a flatter body compared to their relatives, the millipedes and are known to move more quickly. One specific way to tell these two apart is to look at their legs. Each segment of a centipede's body has only one pair of legs, unlike millipedes, which have two pairs of legs per segment.

Centipede Compost Bug
Boreal Yellow-headed Soil Centipede

While they can assist in controlling pest populations to some extent, a high population of centipedes might disrupt the delicate balance of your compost ecosystem.

They have the potential to prey extensively on beneficial insects, which could, in turn, reduce the effectiveness of the composting process by diminishing the population of organisms that aid in decomposition.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are one of the pests you definitely don't want to see in your compost pile. These flying insects are not only a nuisance due to their itchy bites but can also carry many diseases such as the West Nile virus, Zika virus, Dengue fever, and the Chikungunya virus.

Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water. A compost pile with poor drainage can give them a perfect breeding ground and a great place to lay eggs.

To ward off mosquitoes in your compost pile, you need to make it so they aren't interested in the environment. Ensure it drains well, and turn it frequently to avoid water pooling.

If you have a lot of standing water, add water-absorbing materials like newspapers, straw, and hay. Adding these materials on top of areas with mosquito larvae could suffocate or crush the larvae.

If they're still active after you have gotten rid of standing water, you can also try to use mosquito nets.

Termites

Finding termites in your compost pile is usually a red flag. While they might consume some of the organic matter in the compost, their presence primarily indicates potential trouble rather than aiding the composting process.

Termites are small, pale, soft-bodied insects that live in social groups characterized by beaded antennae. If a colony is present nearby, you can find different types of termites in and around your compost.

The reproductive members of the colony, called swarmers, have a pair of equal-length wings that fly around to establish new colonies through mating. The worker and soldier termites, which are more commonly encountered, don't have wings and instead focus on maintaining the nest and chewing on wood.

Termites
CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Not only can they slow down the decomposition process in your compost pile, but they also pose a significant risk to any wooden structures nearby, including elements of your compost bin or home. And their tendency to spread quickly can lead to substantial structural damage in the long run.

Spotting them in your compost should prompt immediate action to prevent potential infestations and safeguard your property.

Aphids

Aphids are small, pear-shaped insects with soft bodies. They can be green, yellow, black, gray, or pink, and they have long antennae and two tube-like structures called cornicles projecting backward out of the back end.

Aphids are sap-sucking pests that can rapidly multiply and potentially spread diseases among plants.

If they migrate from the compost pile to your garden, they can inflict significant damage, especially if they establish a colony.

They have a knack for sucking the life out of plants by draining their sap, promoting the growth of mold and other fungi due to the sugary substance they secrete.

Aphids on plant with ladybug feeding on them.
Introducing ladybugs or lacewings to your compost environment will help eliminate aphids.

I've battled with these pests, and it was no picnic. They swarmed my garden in just a few days, multiplying so quickly that I felt like I was going to lose everything.

I tried using cinnamon oil, coffee grounds, and other natural home remedies, but none of them helped. The only thing that finally helped was introducing ladybugs to my garden.

It took a little time but I can tell you first-hand that since I've released these ladybugs, there's not an aphid in sight.

You can also try using their other natural predator, lacewings, into the environment establish a complete protective barrier for your garden plants.

Weevils

Weevils are a small type of beetle with an elongated snout. They have a compact body, which can be black, brown, or gray, and they possess six legs and antennae that can bend at an angle.

Weevils, particularly in their larval stage, can feed on the roots of young plants and seeds, causing potential damage to your garden, so if you see them in your compost, it's a good idea to try and get rid of them.

Weevil Bug.
Weevil

Seeing them in your compost pile indicates an imbalance in the composting materials, and they can be a sign that your compost is not heating up enough to break down materials effectively.

To make sure your compost pile is hot enough, flip it frequently. For quicker results, you can use a metal bar or stick to create a funnel down into your compost.

Once open, add a moderate amount of water and coffee grounds to encourage better aerobic conditions, which will help establish a faster decomposition process.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are unwelcomed tiny bugs sometimes found in compost piles. These parasitic organisms do not contribute at all to composting and can pose a significant health risk.

Finding these pests in your compost pile is a definite sign of an unsafe environment, risking the well-being of both you and your animals.

They can transmit diseases to humans and pets, potentially leading to infestations in your surroundings.

To prevent attracting these pests, maintain a well-balanced compost with proper moisture levels, and avoid adding pet wastes or meats that can attract these parasites.

You must address this issue promptly to maintain a healthy compost pile and a safe environment. In the case of a severe infestation, don't hesitate to seek professional pest control services to handle the situation effectively.

How to Compost Without Attracting Unwanted Bugs

Creating and maintaining a healthy compost pile is the best way to keep unwanted bugs out of the ecosystem.

As we reviewed above, these pests can slow the decomposition process and sometimes bring diseases that can harm you and your pets.

You can keep these pesky intruders at bay with a bit of care and knowledge. Here are some expert tips to help you maintain a thriving compost pile:

Maintain an Ideal Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratio

A well-balanced compost pile is your first line of defense against unwanted bugs. Maintain the right balance between green materials (rich in nitrogen) and brown materials (rich in carbon).

This will expedite the rotting process, making the environment less inviting to harmful bugs.

If you're new to composting, you can visit our beginner's guide to composting at home to help you get the ratios right.

Frequent Turning

Regular turning of your compost pile is essential in preventing infestations. It ensures even decomposition, discourages the breeding of harmful bugs, and promotes aeration, which is vital for the health of your compost. It can also help to raise the temperature in your compost.

As a general guideline, try to turn your compost pile every 4-6 weeks. This will disrupt the living conditions of pests and encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms.

Manage Moisture Levels

A compost pile that's too wet can attract a host of unwanted bugs. Cover your compost pile during heavy rains and add dry materials like leaves, newspaper, or straw to absorb excess moisture to prevent this.

On the other hand, if your pile is too dry, add water sparingly to maintain a damp, but not soggy, environment.

Compost Bin

Know Which Foods to Compost

To avoid attracting unwanted pests to your compost pile, you should separate certain foods before adding them to your compost. Do not add meat, dairy, or oily foods, which can attract harmful pests.

Instead, concentrate on adding vegetable scraps, fruit peels, and other organic matter that decomposes quickly and enriches your compost.

Add a Fine Mesh Covering

Consider covering your compost pile with a fine mesh cover or netting. This will allow for necessary aeration while preventing larger bugs from making a home in your compost. Make sure to secure the covering properly to maximize its effectiveness.

Use Natural Pest Deterrents

Using natural pest deterrents is an eco-friendly and effective method to keep unwanted bugs away from your compost pile. Natural pest deterrents like neem leaves or citrus peels act as a repellent, discouraging pests from inhabiting your compost pile.

Rich in azadirachtin, a natural pesticide, neem leaves can be scattered around the compost pile or mixed directly into the compost. This hinders an insect's hormonal system, making it hard for them to grow and lay eggs.

Similarly, you can add dried citrus peels directly to your compost. This will repel pests because of the strong smell and can enhance the overall smell of your compost pile.

However, use these in moderation to prevent high pH levels and disruptions to microbial activity.

If this works for you and you want to continue using more citrus peels, start incorporating other materials alongside them that can counteract the acidity, like crushed eggshells or garden lime, to maintain a balanced pH in the compost pile.

Here are some other natural repellents to consider:

  • Garlic - Planting garlic around your compost pile or adding garlic peels to the compost can deter pests due to its strong smell and antifungal properties.
  • Cayenne Pepper - Sprinkling cayenne pepper over your compost pile can help keep pests at bay, thanks to its strong smell and taste that many pests find repelling.
  • Marigolds - Planting marigolds near your compost pile can deter pests like nematodes and certain beetles due to the natural pesticides present in the plant.
  • Mint - Mint has a strong aroma that repels many pests. Planting mint around your compost pile or adding mint clippings can prevent unwanted insects.

Use of Boiling Water as a Last Resort

In the case of severe infestations, you should take drastic measures. Pouring boiling water over the affected areas can help eliminate bugs effectively. However, use this method as a last resort since it will also kill any beneficial microorganisms (like bacteria and fungi) and bugs that help your compost.

Bug Presence Decreases in Later Stages

When you first start composting, the pile may attract different kinds of bugs and critters because there is a lot of fresh food for them to eat.

But as time passes, the compost changes and becomes more like soil. This makes it less appealing to many pests who prefer to eat fresh waste.

After some time, the pile stabilizes, and the organisms within it can better break down the remaining complex organic matter. This makes it harder for pests to survive in the compost pile, so you might notice fewer of them around.

Small Mammals and Reptiles You Might Also Notice

Your compost pile may become a welcoming spot for various creatures, including small rodents and reptiles. They are typically drawn to a compost pile for the warmth it offers, the shelter it provides, or the food scraps it contains.

Not only are some of these bad for your compost, but they can also be dangerous if you have any outdoor pets. Here's a closer look at some creatures you might encounter and tips on managing their visits.

Mice and Rats

Mice and rats are primarily attracted to compost piles because of the food scraps available. If you notice them around, it might be time to review the kind of waste you're adding to the compost.

To keep them at bay, avoid adding bones, fish, meat, or dairy products to your compost, and habitually turn your compost regularly to prevent them from setting up a home.

Moles

Moles might find your compost pile attractive due to the presence of insects and worms, which are a part of their diet. If you see signs of burrowing in your compost, you can install a wire mesh at the base of your compost bin to keep them out.

Raccoons

Raccoons are clever mammals with a knack for finding food. They might rummage through your compost pile, looking for a snack. To keep raccoons away, consider using a compost bin with a secure lid, making it harder for them to get to the contents.

Possums

Like raccoons, possums are opportunistic feeders and might find your compost pile an excellent food source. They are generally nocturnal, so you might only see signs of their visits in the morning. Keeping the compost well-covered can prevent them from accessing food scraps.

Lizards, Toads, and Frogs

While having lizards, toads, and frogs in your garden can be a sign of a healthy ecosystem, their interaction with your compost is a bit of a double-edged sword.

These ectothermic vertebrates help to control pests such as insects and rodents around your compost, but if they start to feed on the beneficial bugs that are within your compost pile, that will slow any progress.

To maintain a balance and to keep them from affecting your compost, you can create habitats such as ponds or rockeries near the area to attract them away from the compost pile.

Snakes

Although snakes can be alarming, they are often drawn to your compost pile in search of either food - which, in this case, are the small rodents mentioned earlier - or the warmth it offers.

The snakes you encounter are usually non-venomous and adept at controlling these unwanted pests.

However, if you'd rather keep them at bay, regularly turning the compost and keeping a tidy yard can help to discourage them.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the roles of different bugs in your compost setup can be a stepping stone toward successful and sustainable composting.

Embrace the process, while keeping an eye out for potential pest infestations.

Remember, a well-managed compost not only contributes to a green and healthy environment but will also lead to beneficial ecosystems within your garden.



About the Author

Brett Knighton, Owner of GreenLifeResource.com

Brett Knighton

I am the proud owner of GreenLifeResource.com, a platform dedicated to promoting sustainable living and environmental consciousness. My journey towards sustainability was inspired by my daughter's love for nature and being outdoors. Through her, I realized the importance of preserving the environment not just for her, but for all children. Today, I share my knowledge and experiences, hoping to inspire others to join me in making more environmentally-friendly choices. My goal is to bring families and friends closer together through shared respect and care for our planet.